Friday, February 7, 2014

22 Creationist messages

On Tuesday night, Bill Nye and Ken Ham debated the validity of creationism. Although he missed a few points I would have made Nye (on the Big Bang/Evolution side) won the debate. Many sources came to the same conclusion that Ham cam out with the losing hand. Surprisingly, even a poll on
Cristian Today said 92% that Nye won, and only 8% that Ham did.

Also interesting is that BuzzFeed asked 22 creationists to write down a question or message for the opposition. Here are those messages (grammar and spelling unchanged), as well as my own replies...
1) Bill Nye, Are you influencing the minds of children in a positive way?
Teaching kids to think for themselves, rely on evidence to draw conclusions, and educate themselves? Yeah, I'd call those positive things.
2) Are you scared of a Divine Creator?
Nope! I'm not afraid of the Christian god, Norse gods, Greek gods, Godzilla, or any movie monster you care to name. How can I fear a god that I don't even believe exists?
3) Is it completely illogical that the earth was created mature? i.e. trees created with rings... Adam created as an adult...
Until you demonstrate that things can be 'created mature', than yes, it is illogical. True, the possibility can't be completely ruled out, but the Biblical account of creation can be ruled out. Creating light prior to creating the light source just doesn't work.
4) Does not the second law of thermodynamics disprove evolution?
Not at all. The second law states that in a closed system, disorder, or entropy, will increase over time. Evolution tends to involve an increasing of order (simple leading to complex organisms), so some claim it violates the second law and thus, must be false. The thing they miss is that the Earth is not a closed system as our world is constantly being fed energy by the Sun.
5) How do you explain a sunset if their is no God?
What? A sunset is what we view due to our present viewing angle in relation to our position on the Earth, the Earth's rotation, viewing angle of the Sun, and the way our atmosphere scatters the light. Where is a god needed for that? Chances are, the questioner was asking more about the beauty of a sunset. Again, no god needed. I find a sunset beautiful as a non-believer quite easily. In fact, I find it more beautiful now, as an atheist, than I ever did when I believed.
6) If the Big Bang Theory is true and taught as science along with evolution, why do the laws of thermodynamics debunk said theories?
Um... maybe because the laws of thermodynamics don't.  I already covered evolution in #4, but what about the Big Bang? Well, the universe is still expanding. Because of this, the equilibrium state that the second law predicts a closed system reaching continues to change. But don't be fooled, the universe is still cooling and will eventually reach absolute zero. However, you can still have pockets of order within a system like our universe that is trending as a whole, slowly toward absolute zero.
7) WHAT ABOUT NOETICS?
Which 'noetics'? Noetic philosophy is philosophy dealing with the mind, intellect, or consciousness. If that's the case, I don't see the problem or the relevance. Noetic 'science' however, has been described as such:
A multidisciplinary field that brings objective scientific tools and techniques together with subjective inner knowing to study the full range of human experience.

In other words, there are several ways we can know the world around us. Science focuses on external observation and is grounded in objective evaluation, measurement, and experimentation. This is useful in increasing objectivity and reducing bias and inaccuracy as we interpret what we observe.

But another way of knowing is subjective -- or internal -- including gut feelings, intuition, hunches -- the way you know you love your children, for example, or experiences you have that cannot be explained or proven, but feel absolutely real nonetheless. This way of knowing is what we call noetic.
Sorry, but gut feelings are not science. Also, we can explain why you love your children, and why you feel that love with real science. It's also important to note that noetic science has proposed a world-wide consciousness, remote healing, the paranormal (life after death, telepathy, clairvoyance, etc), expanding your 'consciousness' and other spurious ideas. If that's what they were talking about, sorry, but I'm not buying any of it without proof.
8) Where do you derive objective meaning?
I don't. There is no one 'meaning of life'. Our lives all have the meaning we give them. For a believer, it may be to 'honor God'. But for me, it's to enjoy my life, the beauty of the Earth and cosmos, those I love and try and have a positive impact on the world. No god, and my life has loads of meaning. Problem?
9) If God did not create everything, how did the first single-celled organism originate? By chance?
The short answer is, we're not sure. There is a new paper that suggests that life is an inevitable byproduct of thermodynamics (due to energy dispersal). Alternatively, there's the chemical origin of life often called abiogenesis. This has actually been replicated in the lab. It has even be proposed that a comet or meteor seeded Earth with what was needed to form life. This has also been replicated as possible.

But yes, chance may be the answer. Considering that there are billions of galaxies. Each with billions of stars, all possibly hosting a solar system of planets. Is it any surprise that the chemistry would happen to work on at least one planet given those staggering numbers?
10) I believe in the Big Bang Theory... God said it and BANG it happened!
Cute, but I could just as easily replace the Christian god with any other god and this statement remains unchanged. An explanation that works for all conflicting explanations, ultimately works for none. Actually, you could say that someone flipped on a light-switch, and then BANG, there's the universe. Meaningless, and the rest of Genesis still contradicts the evidence.
11) Why do evolutionists/secularists/humanists/non-God believing people reject the idea of there being a creator God but embrace the concept of inteligent design from aliens or other extra-terestrial sources?
Sigh... We tend to reject a creator god because there is no evidence for one. We don't embrace an alien creator, but we do point out that an alien creator is just as likely (and unlikely) as a creator god. We may support the possibility of alien life (intelligent or not) simply due to the the amazing odds at play. There are so many other worlds that it is mathematically likely there is life of some sort of another out there somewhere.
12) There is no in between... the only one found has been Lucy and there are only a few pieces of the hundreds neccessary for an "official proof"
Not even close to true. Lucy is just one of over 100 intermediates leading to humans today. True, even more fossils would be nice, but fossils only form under the right circumstances, so we're lucky to have any fossils at all. Plus the focus on 'intermediates' misses the fact that every single individual is an 'intermediate'. But even without any fossils, the DNA evidence and vestigial evidence for
evolution are overwhelming.
13) Does metamorphosis help support evolution?
Well it is a beautiful and amazing product or evolution, so you do the math...
14) If evolution is a Theory (like creationism or the Bible) why then is Evolution taught as fact.
Because it is a scientific theory (more on that on #15) that is supported by the evidence. It is the closest thing you get to a 'fact' in science. Evolution is a 'theory' just as much as gravity is. Creationism and the Bible are not supported by evidence, and thus are not even in the same league.
15) Because science by definition is a "theory" -not testable, observable, nor repeatable" why do you object to creationism or intelligent design being taught in school?
Wow... Is it opposite day? Science is testable , observable, and repeatable. Science is defined as "the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment" as well as "a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe". So... basically the opposite of what this person said.

Also, evolution and the Big Bang are theories, but they are 'scientific theories'. In science, a theory is not a simple hunch or idea, as the word is conventionally used to mean. In science a theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on knowledge that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation". In this way, evolutionary theory is the same as germ theory and gravitational theory... rooted in evidence and testable verifiable claims. Creationism and intelligent aren't. Thus they aren't taught in science class. You wouldn't teach the stork theory alongside sex-ed would you?
 16) What mechanism has science discovered that evidences an increase of genetic information seen in any genetic mutation or evolutionary process?
The answer depends on what is considered an increase of genetic information. The eye, for example, evolved trough many many step from an initial state where there was no vision at all, to excellent vision. Creationists sometimes claim that is just a reorganization or existing information. Natural selection selects for the most advantageous representations of ones genes to the environment. So even if no new 'information' is created, evolution still carries along on it's merry way.

Natural increases of actual genetic information do occur though. This happens through gene duplication. In this mutation, a particular gene will duplicate itself. These two genes can then go on mutating independently of one another. One thing undeniable is that the addition of genes is also an increase in total information.
17) What purpose do you think you are here for if you do not believe in salvation?
Does that mean that there is no purpose for a believer if there is no God? Is their family meaningless if there is no God? That's pretty sad if you ask me. Why do I think I'm here? To live life, enjoy life, and make the most of life. What's so bad about enjoying this brief ride called life while I can.
18) Why have we found only 1 "Lucy", when we have found more than 1 of everything else?
See #12.
19) Can you believe in "the big bang" without "faith"?
Easily. The Big Bang is based on evidence, and lots of it. No faith required.
20) How can you look at the world and not believe Someone Created/thought of it? It's Amazing!!!
Yes, the world is amazing. But what does that have to do with the validity of creation vs evolution/Big Bang? While the world may be amazing and beautiful at times, it can also be very cruel and tragic. The 'argument from beauty' is just another case of theist shortsightedness. The world is amazing, but is exactly the kind of world we'd expect to see from a naturalistic viewpoint rather than a theistic one. What more, I feel that knowing how things work, and the odds involved make them even more beautiful.
21) Relating to the big bang theory.... Where did the exploding Star come from?
Is this a joke? please tell me this is a joke... The Big Bang was not an exploding star. Technically is wasn't even an explosion either. The Big Bang started with the universe in on initial hot dense state that rapidly expanded. But where did that initial energy/matter come from? Some theorize that virtual particles can pop in and out of seemingly nothing.


Yeah, most of these made about as much sense as this...
But I could turn the question around and ask where God came from. A believer will claim that God always existed. But what if the initial energy of the universe always existed? What's more likely... That something super complex (God) always existed, or that something simple (energy) always existed?
22) If we came from monkeys then why are there still monkeys?
This one has to be a joke. Please, please, please tell me this is a joke... Evolution doesn't say that we came from monkeys. What the evidence shows is that we share a common ancestor with monkeys and the great apes.

One thing all these questions illustrate is buckets of ignorance. That is rather discouraging since many of these answers should be common knowledge. And those that aren't are answered by a 5 minute use of google. So the question is, do they even really want answers to these questions?


-Brain Hulk

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